Research: The Sky Is the Limit with Ben

Segment #5 from University of North Florida


Let’s meet Ben, a senior, who is double-majoring in physics and biomedical sciences. UNF offers amazing research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students across the university. And Ben has been involved in astrophysics research that is helping us better understand our universe. His lectures for Northeast Florida stargazers pack the house. Take it away, Ben.

– Thanks, Alex. Growing up here in Jacksonville, I became interested in the medical field after getting involved in Ocean Rescue of our local fire department. Then my high-school physics teacher sparked my interest for astronomy and physics. The physics department here at UNF is tight-knit, which helped me quickly form close relationships with faculty and students. Professors work with us until we have a firm understanding of what we’re learning and they are eager for students to get involved with department projects and research. I joined the astronomy club early. And by the end of my third year, I had already given several lectures to large public audiences on primordial black holes, dark energy and matter and more. I spent a lot of my free time working on projects and interacting with friends. I’ve also been working on prebiotic chemistry or origin-of-life research with a faculty member of expertise in the field. We’ve been working on analyzing volcanic rock that may be able to help reactions that can form sugars without the presence of life. Pretty cool stuff. UNF provides students like me with the opportunity to work with faculty members and other scientists, who are doing research that will have a positive impact on the world. For instance, recently, when we were on the green watching a solar eclipse, another UNF team was working with NASA on a high-flying balloon research project. I want to use the skills I’ve learned at UNF to go to an osteopathic medical school, eventually, working as an emergency physician. I never would’ve imagined the deep friendships that I’ve made, or the cool opportunities that I’ve been given as a UNF student. Back to you, Alex.

– Thank you, Ben. I can see the sky is truly the limit here at UNF. From black holes to research about Alzheimer’s, nanomaterials and even archeological digs, students could gain hands-on experience that prepare them for amazing careers. Great job.

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